One of the most popular study sites used by AP students is Quizlet and for good reason! Quizlet combines the classic flashcard studying method with unique, fun games to learn vocabulary. However, the number of resources provided by Quizlet can make it challenging to find the best decks for each AP European History unit.
For that reason, here are the most comprehensive Quizlet decks for effective studying! Vocabulary is critical for understanding different historical events, figures, structures, and concepts.
Treat the included unit overviews as contextualization to describe the broader processes of what is happening in that unit!
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Renaissance and Exploration (1450–1648)
🎥Watch: AP European History - Italian Renaissance
Unit 1 revolves around the Renaissance as well as European exploration from the mid-15th century to the mid-17th century, which shaped the political, economic, and intellectual identities of the region. During this time period, significant technological (navigation, cartography, military) advancements led to overseas colonies and empires. This presence on the world stage led to the development of trade networks as well as rivalries.
Age of Reformation (1450–1648)
Unit 2 explores the numerous reform movements that occurred from the mid-15th century to the mid- 17th century, including the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Reformation. This unit also examines societal and artistic developments during this time period, specifically established hierarchies, the role of women, and mannerism and Baroque art.
Catholic Counter-Reformation: an internal reform of the Catholic Church in the 16th century; thanks especially to the work of the Council of Trent (1545–1563), Catholic leaders clarified doctrine, corrected abuses and corruption, and put a new emphasis on education and accountability.
Absolutism and Constitutionalism (1648–1815)
Unit 3 examines the political structures of absolutism and constitutionalism, exploring different historical events and figures that influenced these ideas. This unit also addresses economic developments during this time period, including the Agricultural Revolution and mercantilism.
Scientific, Philosophical, and Political Developments (1648–1815)
🎥Watch: AP European History - Enlightenment
Unit 4 focuses on the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, examining changing attitudes during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Intellectuals introduced new political and economic theories during these movements that had defining impacts of Europe. The Agricultural Revolution transformed the practices and transportation used to produce food, creating more efficient and productive processes that required fewer workers. Due to this development, urban areas saw dramatic growth as families migrated to cities in search of work.
Scientific Revolution: the ideas of experimental observation and mathematics slowly became part of the European worldview, when previously the theories of Aristotle were accepted.
Tabula Rasa: a theory that says that humans aren’t born with basic ideals, but are blank slates that are developed through interactiona
Seven Years War (1756–1763): a huge conflict involving many European powers where Maria Theresa attempted to regain lost land and failed, no huge change in colonial holdings either.
Conflict, Crisis, and Reaction in the Late 18th Century (1648–1815)
Unit 5 explores the conflicts, crises, and reactions in Europe during the late 18th century, specifically the French Revolution. During this time period, the European maritime network rapidly grew into a worldwide economic market, which led to rivalries and domination. The Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution, and Romantic Movement introduced new social, cultural, and religious ideas and defined European culture.
Romanticism: an artistic movement at its height from about 1790 to the 1840s; a revolt against classicism and the Enlightenment, characterized by a belief in emotional exuberance, unrestrained imagination, and spontaneity in both art and personal life.
Industrialization and Its Effects (1815–1914)
Unit 6 revolves around the Industrial Revolution and industrialization, emphasizing the dramatic impact on Europe and the world. This time period also saw social change, including new political ideologies, reform movements, and revolutions.
Mechanization: the application of machinery to manufacturing and other activities; among the first processes to be mechanized were the spinning of cotton thread and the weaving of cloth in late-18th and early-19th-century England.
Cult of Domesticity: an idealized view of women & home; women, self-less caregiver for children, refuge for husbands.
Utopian Socialism: a philosophy introduced by the Frenchman Charles Fourier in the early 19th century; utopian socialists hoped to create humane alternatives to industrial capitalism by building self-sustaining communities whose inhabitants would work cooperatively.
19th-Century Perspectives and Political Developments (1815–1914)
Unit 7 focuses on the prominent nationalistic and imperialistic presence developing across Europe during the 19th century, examining the global impacts of these ideas. This unit also explores cultural and intellectual movements during this time period, including social Darwinism, modernism, romanticism, and more.
New Imperialism: as opposed to just economic relations, European powers used military force for a complete military takeover of colonies, increasing conflict between the European states. Displayed in the scramble for Africa. Bismarck initially against colonialism, but then for it to increase the power of Germany.
Berlin Conference: a conference among European nations that divided up Africa between the powers.
Revolution of 1905: a push (caused by Russia's loss to Japan) amongst the middle class for liberal government, labor movement amongst factory workers, and nationalism amongst minorities.
20th-Century Global Conflicts (1914–present)
🎥Watch: AP European History - Rise of Fascism
Unit 8 examines the causes and effects of global conflicts as well as prominent events, ideologies, and developments during the 20th century. This unit also explores the global economic crisis during this time period, focusing on the Great Depression and its impact on Europe. Cultural, intellectual, and artistic developments spread across the world, including changing perspectives on science, technology, and psychology.
Schlieffen Plan: a failed German plan calling for a lightning attack through neutral Belgium and a quick defeat of France before turning on Russia.
Russian Revolution (1917): a pair of revolutions in Russia that dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union.
Totalitarianism: a radical dictatorship that exercises "total claims" over the beliefs and behavior of its citizens by taking control of the economic, social, intellectual, and cultural aspects of society.
Cold War and Contemporary Europe (1914–present)
📝Read: AP European History -Unit 9
Unit 9 explores the after-effects of World War II and the unstable political and economic climates that led to the Cold War. As the Cold War continued throughout the 20th century, Europe saw significant changes in political and economic structures. This unit also examines social and cultural movements, including feminism and postmodernism. As the world entered the 21st century, technological developments and globalization dramatically altered human interactions.
Decolonization: the postwar reversal of Europe's overseas expansion caused by the rising demand of the colonized peoples themselves, the declining power of European nations, and the freedoms promised by US and Soviet ideals.
Globalization: the emergence of a freer, more technologically connected global economy, accompanied by a worldwide exchange of cultural, political, and religious ideas.
Warsaw Pact (1955): a Soviet-backed military alliance of East Bloc Communist countries in Europe.
Quizlet is an amazing tool to use for some quick review before a unit test or the AP exam! You can even create your own decks to have a personalized study session. Remember that the themes and their connections within the course are more important than memorizing specific people or dates. Take breaks from Quizlet to find relationships between content and new vocabulary. You've got this and good luck with your studying!
✅ All unit overviews are courtesy of the College Board’s AP European History Course and Exam Description.